Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Locally common.
HABITAT: Favors open, arid grasslands interspersed with yucca, mesquite, and cactus. Also occurs in deserts, on the open plains, and in arid farmlands, extending into the foothills. Outside the breeding season, often forms large flocks and roosts communally in canyons and gulches.
NEST: Usually builds nest in isolated trees or bushes, 4 to 40 feet above the ground; often uses same nest year after year. Uses sycamore, mesquite, willow, oak, yucca, cottonwood and other species for nest sites, but also nests on utility poles and windmill towers.
FOOD: Typically eats insects, especially grasshoppers and beetles, cultivated grains, small reptiles, fruits of cacti, carrion, eggs and young of birds, and scraps of human food.
REFERENCES: Bent 1946, Goodwin 1976, Johnsgard 1979, Terrill in Farrand 1983b, Wilmore 1977.